Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey will take a one stroke lead into the final round of the European Challenge Tour’s Dutch Futures presented by Royal Bank of Scotland.
The Belfast 29 year old carded an excellent third round of four under par 68 at the Golf Club Houtrak on the outskirts of Amsterdam for a three round aggregate of ten under par 206 and lead England’s Chris Gane by a stroke, with the English trio of Stuart Davies, Ben Evans and Matthew Morris in a tie for third on eight under.
Hoey, already a winner on the Challenge Tour this in Morocco, is looking for the victory that would put him within touching distance of a return to The European Tour next season.
“I am playing a lot more freely at the moment,” said Hoey. “Things have been getting a bit over-technical this year but I am starting to accept my poor shots straight away and staying relaxed. The putter has been a lot hotter this week as well and you need to make putts to succeed at this level.
“I played well today. I lost concentration on a couple of shots towards the end but I am happy with how I played all in all.”
Hoey is currently 31st on the Challenge Tour Rankings. Victory tomorrow would propel him inside the magic top 20 with just three events of the season remaining, although he would need to add some more points in those three tournaments to guarantee his return to The European Tour.
“I know I have won three times out here on the Challenge Tour, and some of that experience should help me tomorrow, but, at the end of the day you have to prove yourself every week in this game and I have to do it again tomorrow.”
Gane is in an almost identical situation to his Northern Irish rival. The Englishman’s fifth place finish at last week’s Kazakhstan Open to jump into 27th place on the Rankings. Victory at the Golf Club Houtrak, and the €22,400 that goes with it, would almost guarantee the Londoner a return to The European Tour.
Hopes for a home winner in Holland are still very much alive after the Dutch quartet of Wil Besseling, Ralph Miller, Taco Remkes and Joost Steenkamer all moved to within three strokes of Hoey’s lead on seven under par going into the final round.